In this blog and vlog, we are going to explore:
1) Reasons why to study over the summer;
2) Ways to study over the summer.
After reading the blog and watching the vlog, you will know ways to motivate your teen to study over the summer. You will also know the best methods of revising efficiently over the summer.
1. Reasons why to study over the summer.
It is vital to remind your child/tween why they are studying. They may reply it is to pass an exam. It might be to please you their parents/carer/guardian. Try and dig deeper. How? By asking them:
– Why is it important for you to pass the exam?
– What does it mean for you to pass the exam?
– If you pass the exam, what will it look like?
– How will you feel when you pass your exam?
– Why is it important to please me?
– What does it look like to please me?
– How does it feel when you please me?
Then, ask them:
– What will happen if they do not pass their exam?
– How will it feel not to pass the exam?
– Will it feel worse knowing that you did not give it your all?
By asking these questions, it helps you to find out what it means to your child to pass their exam. You can then ask them what they think is needed to pass their exams. This allows them to take control of their revision.
** Note, it helps you to identify pain points that your child may have with exams. It gives you the opportunity to reassure them that if they do not pass, you will not be angry or upset. It also allows you to see how your child feels about under-achieving for not doing their best. **
2. Ways to study over the summer
Lock-down might be sweeping the globe; however, it does not make revising over the summer. Consider this for your child/teen:
Warm sunshine bursts through their windows, making them itch to go outside to the park to a socially-distance hang out. Now that restrictions have eased, they can now go to their friends’ gardens to have BBQs, to play games or to chat. Or, perhaps they have been cooped up inside. Lethargy has set in, so now they want to sit at their desks and watch Netflix or Amazon Prime; they can chat just as easily over the phone or laptop, so see no reason to go out.
Studying over the summer is difficult. Sun and socialising are prime during the holidays. Even though there is a global pandemic, it does not make it any easier! In fact, with lock-down rules easing, you can now meet up with friends in parks; or, go to friends’ houses for socially-distanced BBQs. Your child/teen may therefore want freedom more than ever! You may feel, since lock-down, they have not done much studying. Yet, they may feel differently: they may feel that they have in fact done more, especially in comparison to their peers!
Arguing with them about how much they have done; or, not done is futile.
Remind reasons for wanting to pass the exam.
Instead, remind them of their reasons for wanting to pass their exams. Then, ask them to create a plan that they will execute. Get them excited about their future by looking at Secondary Schools if they’re going through the 11+. Look at Colleges and Universities, if they want to continue their academic journeys. Go over job profiles that inspire them. In doing this, it makes the results tangible; they get excited and they start to visualise what their life might look.
Recently, a child that I am working with for the 11+ sent me an email saying, “Do not expect me to do homework over the summer. I will be playing with my friends.”
My first reaction was admiration at his boldness and at his self-awareness. I could have told him that he needs to do his homework or he would fail his exam. But this would have been negative. I would be imposing my fears on him. I could have told him that his parents have hired me to work with him and they expect him to do his homework. However, this would have been making the exams important to his parents. It would have also been blaming them for the homework. It would also undermine our relationship, as it loses sight of him. Due to us building a rapport, I knew what was important to him. I therefore replied that I would invite him to consider why he does not want to do his homework. I knew that he did not have school homework and that his parents were only asking him to read daily, so he did not have a lot of academic work to do. I then invited him to consider why the homework was set. Finally, I asked him to think about the school he wanted to attend. We had spent time going through the website, so that he could see what the school were looking for, and to see what excited him about the school.
He then replied asking me for the links to complete the homework. By not making him wrong, and by reminding him of what is important to him, he made the choice to do his homework!
Make it fun!
Encourage your child/teen to use different voices to revise. Play with different accents and tones to recite information. They can then record themselves and then play it back.
What voices can they use?
They can try and narrate it in David Attenborough’s voice. Or, they could use one of their favourite musicians. If they enjoy singing, they could sing the revision material.
Study smartly, not hard
Support your child/teen in making a revision timetable. Making a timetable is a great way for your child/teen to organise their time, so they know what to do.
Plan your work; work your plan.
Remind your child/teen of this. To help them implement this, set the bar. Make plans and stick to them, so that your child/teen can see how it makes your life easier.
‘To-do’ list and ‘Complete’ list.
Do not just settle with a plan! Make a ‘To-do’ list and a ‘Complete’ list. You can put it on a post-notes into two columns, like the following:
This ensures that your child/teen is being productive and not just being busy. It also helps to reduce stress, since they feel that they are getting through their work; they can see it.
Make it applicable to real life.
Remember, it is the summer. Your child/teen is primed to want to have a break. Revision does not have to be done in a traditional manner of sitting at a desk. Instead, look for practical ways in which your child/teen can implement the skills they need for their exams. How?
Encouraging them to do meaningful tasks, such as competitions and summer schools. It is true that many have been cancelled, but there are still some online.
If you cannot find one that you and your child/teen are enrolled in, then try to create opportunities for them to apply their knowledge by perhaps creating an online study group. This will allow them to discuss concepts and to work through problems. This helps to replicate real-life situations, as in labs and workplaces, people work together. It thus helps to bring the studies to life.
Studying over summer for the 11+, GCSEs and A-levels can be less stressful by reminding your child/teen of WHY. Why are the exams important to them. Create a revision schedule that not only has the days and times of study, but also the chunked-down topics that need to be revised. Then, create a ‘Complete’ list, so that your child/teen gets satisfaction in knowing they have done a task. Liven up revision by using different voices to recite the information and by creating real-life opportunities for your child to apply their knowledge.